15 Minutes

Financial, Relationship and Spiritual Growth. Personal Development. Leadership.


Carefully Plot Your Inspiration

inspireWhat inspires you? It’s different for everyone. Even though I am an artist I am very much a left-brain thinker (logical, literal). Music doesn’t do a thing for me. It does not touch me emotionally like it does with some people. Same with most artwork. I can appreciate art for it’s technical mastery, but looking at a painting has never caused me to react emotionally.

Since I think logically and tend to intellectualize things, I am inspired by the written word. Posters with phrases to motivate and inspire; those work on me. A really good tweet will inspire me. A story, an epic quest, a victory against all odds.  Movies inspire me, if they have a good message and end with victory (that’s why I can’t stand Chinese Kung-Fu Tragedies).

Why am I talking about inspiration today? Because we can be intentional about inspiring ourselves. Since we know the things that inspire us to be more or do more, why don’t we surround ourselves with inspiration?

I’m currently writing a chapter on Environment (your personal environment, not the rainforests), and thinking about what you can do to create an environment that is conducive to success. Motivation is something that can come from within. Inspiration by definition comes from another source.

But if we want to create an environment that instills us with confidence and inspiration, all we have to do us surround ourselves with inspiring things.

So let me ask you once again: what inspires you?

If you are inspired by a photo, a phrase, a quote, or a movie poster, do you have one in your bedroom? Bathroom? Kitchen? Cubicle?

If you are inspired by a song, have you changed your ringtone to it yet? Do you wake up in the morning to that song as your alarm? (if you don’t know how to do that with your phone, find a kid to do it for you).

If you are inspired by the color blue, then paint your house blue. Get blue-tinted sunglasses so that the whole world is shades of blue.

By changing your environment, you can be purposeful about being inspired. Develop an environment that emotionally drives you in the direction you want to go. Rather than wait for inspiration to sneak up and bite you, go get your inspiration; immerse yourself in it, smear it all over your life so you cannot escape it.

So one last time: What inspires you? And if I walked into your home, would I be able to tell?


When Writing, Get Dirty


When you are a writer, you want to produce highly polished gems to show off to your friends, peers, and beloved audience. Do you know where gems are found? In the dirt. Gold also is something that is highly valued. Gold is found in dirt. Pirates bury their treasure. It seems like everything of value involves dirt. (One exception is ambergris and frankly I would rather get dirt on my hands…).

Writing involves strictly metaphorical dirt. For us, digging in the dirt is the daily grind. The writing that nobody reads; that you never bother to post or publish. The stuff that you cut and throw out. The first draft that is horrible. The second draft that is nothing like your first and is even worse. The day or week that you spend digging and have no gems to show off for your effort.

Some days you don’t feel like you’re mining for gems and gold, some days you feel like you’re just digging a ditch; or a grave.

What is the point of all these dirt references? The point is: I had nothing to write about today. Nada. Usually I’m always reading a book or two, and I’ll spin a blog post off of a subject from whatever I happen to be reading. It just so happens the chapters I’m currently reading are all about subjects I’ve covered recently in my blog, or in my book, or in that infomercial I did for that one particular product you’ve never heard of (because it’s fictional).

So I did what you should do if you’re ever facing an imminent deadline and you’re not sure what to do or what to write about. It’s a two part process:
1. Start
2. Continue

So, I just started writing. I didn’t bother to worry about the content or the final result or the subject matter. I just started writing, looking for some ore that I could maybe polish up later. If you just start digging, sometimes the mechanical process of writing puts you into a creative mindset and allows you to come up with a gem.

Remember this while you’re digging in the dirt:

  1. Every scoop of dirt you cast aside, is one less scoop between you and the gem. Time is on your side, provided you do not start and quit. Remember, step 2.
  2. The deeper you dig, the more precious the gem. That’s why the best part of any movie is the “training montage.” Because you get to see the effort that goes into the reward.
  3. Have faith that the gem is there. I believe every person has a book within them waiting to be written, or a story waiting to be told. I, for example, just finished telling you a gem of a story about dirt.

One final dirty metaphor: If you throw enough mud at a wall, eventually some of it will stick.

How do you coax, encourage, or force yourself to keep digging through the dirt?